By Kimberly Hwang (’20)
The International Association of Southeast Asian Schools tennis tournament is beginning today in the International School Manila and will end on Feb. 3. This year, both the girls and boys tennis teams in TAS have players that are much younger than those of previous years. This means that there is a large percentage of freshmen on the team who lack IASAS experience. However, the coaches of both teams, Mr. Naden Rowe and Ms. Caroline Lay, have confidence that their players have the ability to come home with medals around their necks.
Although Singapore American School has always been a powerhouse when it comes to girls tennis, varsity girls tennis head coach, Ms. Lay says, “ if anyone’s going to take them out, it’s our young and hungry team.” She adds, “As long as they do their job and win as a team, we can go home with a medal.” When asked about what she hopes they learn from their experiences this season, Ms. Layreplies, “I want them to feel like at the end of the season, they are better than yesterday.”
The players on the team have similar, if not stronger, feelings of determination on their minds. Allie Chiang (‘20), a sophomore on the team, believes that the team’s drive and perseverance will translate to good results in this year’s IASAS tournament. “I’m really proud of how we improved and how hard we worked to succeed as a group,” says, Claire Moy (‘18), captain of the TAS girls tennis team., “I really want to get a gold medal in IASAS, since this is my last year at IASAS. I hope we can go out there and have fun” too,” because that is what tennis is about.”
On the other hand, William Wu (‘18), co-captain of the boy’s team says , “I encouraged myteammates to go to the gym, workout, and maintain their fitness over the break.” While William was responding, Robert Yang (‘18), the other co-captain of the boy’s team, pops in and says, “Just practice!”
Confidently, the TAS boys’ tennis coach, Mr. Rowe, says that although “tennis is a very individual game… we play this as a team sport. The unity from the team and the support from the team is very important.” He hopes that the team culture that theydeveloped plays a big role in helping the team win at IASAS, even though more than half of the team is made up of freshman who are “young and scrappy”,happens to be their teams’ motto. “Although [we] lack experience, we have a very talented crop of young players and I’m confident that we can mix with better schools at IASAS”, says Mr. Rowe. I hope they play with a ‘there’s nothing to lose’ attitude”
Clearly, this year’s team will not only be using their skills to win IASAS, but their determination and strong, positive mindsets as well.